Singapore—One writer has chosen to be vocal about “pandemic politicking” and has appealed to Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, to ask politicians from different parties to desist from “potentially risky politicking” while Singapore is grappling with the coronavirus crisis.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday (May 13), Sudhir Thomas Vadaketh posted the letter he had sent to Mr Masagos, saying he believes that this is an issue of “global and national importance as it concerns our lives,” although the local media does not bring it up.
He also sent a copy of the letter to Foo Teow Lee, Singapore’s consul-general in Hong Kong, as she is also mentioned in it.
Mr Vadaketh wrote, “I know some of you think I am wasting my/our time, but I believe in the sanctity of our civil discourse and democratic processes.”
In his letter to the Minister, whose office is in charge of implementing circuit breaker rules, Mr Vadaketh mentioned the examples of politicians who have displayed the behavior he decried, including Chia Shi-Lu, who had gone to a food centre shortly after the circuit breaker began, along with a possible candidate for the upcoming General Election, as well as others, to distribute masks to hawkers who were already wearing them. He also mentioned Manpower Minister Josephine Teo, who went to see residents in a new constituency shortly before the first dormitory outbreak occurred.
The writer reminded Mr Masagos of South Korea’s example, where the early lifting of restrictions has led to over a hundred new infections, and possibly even more.
These leaders provided a poor example, Mr Vadaketh wrote. “Might Chia’s behaviour have indicated that it is alright to roam around town with friends as long as you are trying to ‘help’? Might Teo’s actions have suggested that the lives of migrant workers are less important than her own electoral future?”
He further expressed the concern that at such a time as this, people may blindly follow the cues in front of them. He clarified that it is not a question of siding with one party or another, as he expects those from other political parties to follow suit, and tagged The Workers Party, Singapore Democratic Party and Progress Singapore Party in his Facebook post.
But the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP) seem to be the biggest offenders in this sense, with Seah Kian Peng making a public appearance on April 26, and Sun Xueling and Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim distributing masks three days later.
Therefore, Mr Vadaketh writes, “I am not convinced that political party self regulation is sufficient. I believe that a firm message from the top is necessary.”
He wrote to Mr Masagos that he believes that “a message from you might go a long way towards dissuading politicians of all parties from considering potentially risky politicking,” especially at this point as the country is preparing to begin to relax restrictions.
The writer added that he copied Singapore’s consul in Hong Kong in his letter, as “she appeared not to see the link between elections and Singapore’s pandemic response. As she sits far away in Hong Kong, I think she might benefit from the view of those of us actually on the ground in Singapore.” —/TISG